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Review: Iris Wildthyme and the Celestial Omnibus 
19th-Sep-2009 04:16 pm
Iris Wildthyme and the Celestial Omnibus Iris Wildthyme and the Celestial Omnibus by Paul Magrs

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Iris Wildthyme is a sort of a fun-house mirror reflection of the Doctor. Like him, she's an eccentric traveller in time and space. However, in so many other respects, she's completely the opposite: bawdy, boozy, and, of course, female. She travels in a Number 22 London double-decker bus, and her faithful companion is a stuffed panda. A walking, talking, stuffed panda.

If you like your Doctor Who fiction smart, silly, camp, and self-referential, you'll love this book. If you don't, you've probably been avoiding anything remotely associated with Wildthyme-creator Paul Magrs for years, anyway.

I'd describe the stories in this volume as good solid fun rather than groundbreaking. In fairness, I find the short story length a bit awkward for Doctor Who and related fiction, and tend to prefer longer lengths. If you're the sort of fan who's collected every Decalogue and Short Trips anthology, I think you'll be very happy with this book.

Favorite stories in the volume included: "Why? Because We Like You" by Jonathan Dennis - a wonderfully bizarre tale set at Disney World (or a close equivalent), which includes the line, "You reversed the polarity of the moron flow." Phil Purser-Hallard's "Battleship Anathema", which is basically a piece of Battlestar Galactica crossover fanfic, but somehow rises above its premise. (I say this as someone who isn't particularly a Battlestar fan.) And Mags L. Halliday's Sovereign, which is a nicely moody and touching piece in an anthology that otherwise tends towards the comedically over-the-top. Honorable mention goes to Cody Schell's "Iris Wildthyme and Senor Cientocinco contra Los Monstruos Del Fiesta", which pairs Iris up with a Mexican wrestler, who I think will become a recurring character in the Iris-verse.

I don't think there are any real clunkers in the book, though a couple of pieces are really just amusing vignettes.

This is definitely one for the hardcore fans, and a particular type of hardcore fan at that. Also, be warned: this book will make you want to drink gin and tonic.

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